Strength and Beauty
1 Kings 7:22
And on the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

I. THE HANDIWORK OF GOD in the wide field of nature. The rocky steeps of the mountain are belted with pines; the rivers that fertilise the soft nourish the flowers which grow on their banks; "the great wide sea" is often surpassingly lovely on its surface, and there are beautiful-corals in its depths, brilliant shells on Its shores; on the broad, unmeasured plains and moors are the blue-bell and the purple heather. If this earth be a temple in which God manifests His presence, His wisdom, and His power, then are the mighty and massive objects upon it the pillars of that temple, and all exquisite and delicate things are the flowers His hand has fashioned upon them. We have it also in —

II. THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. In the Gospel are many mighty and massive truths which may be said to be the very pillars of the sacred edifice: such as the leading truth that "God Is a Spirit," etc.; but in close connection with these great and solid truths is that which is exquisite, delicate, beautiful. Such is the truth that the faintest whisper of prayer that comes from the lips of the little child may enter the ear and touch the hand of God, and bring down His benediction; or that the first sigh of the relenting human spirit is dearer to the Father's heart than the finest anthems of the angels; or that the cherishing of a pure feeling of forgiveness or the doing one act of real peace-making brings us further into the likeness and childhood of God than would the accomplishment of the most brilliant intellectual achievement.

III. CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. We have in our churches strong men, helpful, influential, sustaining — men who are pillars. They may be strong in virtue of adventitious aids, or of natural endowments, or of acquired, powers, or of spiritual acquisition: and these "pillars" may be either as beams m a mine, rude, rough, unpolished; or they may be as the fluted columns of a cathedral, as these pillars of Solomon's temple with lily-work on the top of them.

IV. CHRISTIAN SERVICE. The worship of God, the service of Jesus Christ, is the power for good in human society; it upholds the goodness and the happiness of the world. Its strength and its beauty are determined partly by the stage to which we here come in our Christian course.

1. The strength of service in age is in submission, willingness to decline, to take the lower place, to be of diminishing account; and the beauty of submission is cheerfulness of spirit.

2. The strength of service in prime is in activity, in usefulness, in putting out our "talents" for the glory of Christ and the well-being of the world; and the beauty of activity is thoroughness, regularity, punctuality, heartiness, doing effectively and continuously what has been undertaken.

3. The strength of service in childhood and youth is obedience and self-denial; and the beauty of this is alacrity, promptness, rendering it not tardily and reluctantly, but readily and sweetly, with willing feet and cheerful voice. It is well to have strength and beauty in our Christian buildings; it is far better, in the estimate of Christ, to have these two harmoniously combined in the character we are forming and the life we are living.

(W. Clarkson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

WEB: On the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

Simplicity in Decoration
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